MBA International (AUEB)
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has advanced towards the top of the management agenda over the last decade, propelled by a growing public awareness that business activities have to be sustainable along the dimensions of governance, human rights, and environmental respect. The responsibility for this falls heavily on today's and tomorrow's business leaders.
The MBA International Programme has initiated a range of activities in order to infuse and reinforce the imperative of responsible and sustainable development among students, faculty, alumni and the business community. We invite all visitors of these pages to contact us for discussing and collaborating around the issues of CSR.
The Global Compact
Searching for a way to structure existing activities related to CSR, and generate new ideas and initiatives with students and business partners, the United Nations Global Compact Initiative offers a unique "networking effect" and a structuring framework for organising and developing initiatives in the shape of 10 principles of Corporate Social Responsibility.
In May 2008, a local network, the Global Compact Network Hellas, was launched on initiative by the Hellenic Network for Corporate Social Responsibility and the United Nations Development Programme. This will further enhance the opportunities for achievement through collaboration with leading companies and organisations.
The membership in the Global Compact (since 2006) has been instrumental for maintaining CSR issues continuously on top of the agenda of the MBA Programme, and it has brought several other important benefits including:
- Interaction with the other national members in order to develop joint local initiatives in Greece.
- Access to a vast database of leading companies world-wide reporting on their CSR policies and action plans. This is an invaluable source of information to our students and to Alumni who become more and more concerned and involved in CSR in their organisations.
- Access to an important and continuously growing number of reports and publications through the Global Compact Data Base.
- Continuous updates in the shape of the news links, and the list of events and conferences/workshops on the Global Compact Website helps keeping students and faculty up to date with all the recent developments.
In summary, we firmly believe that the membership in the United Nations Global Compact is highly beneficial for all types of educational institutions, and we wish to actively promote the benefits of being a member to all organisations.
Caring for the Environment
Each responsible citizen, and in particular managers and organisational leaders, must deploy all the necessary forces, knowledge and creativity in order to preserve and improve the ecological heritage that we have been entrusted. It has become a pressing matter to develop business logics where sustainability and the ecological cycles of using for reusing are leitmotivs.
By initiative of the student club, students and Alumni of the MBA International Programme have participated in various events for promoting environmentally friendly initiatives, such as the Outreach Day on Recycling at the central Syntagma Square organised by the Greek Alumni Club of Columbia University (NY) and the Greek NGO Net Impact Hellas, and have organised a fund raising campaign for supporting the victims of the fire catastrophes in Greece in 2007. Moreover, and by initiative of the MBA students, a campaign is being developed to the entire university community concerning steps and measures for reducing waste and save energy and water in the buildings and installations of the university.
An important internal initiative in the MBA Programme and the entire Graduate Building of AUEB is the organisation of a paper and battery recycling process. Recycling in Greece is still in its infancy, and therefore it is of additionally strong importance not only to encourage recycling activities, but also ensure that effective processes are being maintained. Making the university an additional access point for battery recycling is important as the number of points is still largely insufficient. We have also taken the necessary steps for ensuring that the paper being collected is truly recycled and does not end up in the general garbage treating process. Students and staff are reminded to adhere to the recycling effort by signs posted in the building.
Assisting Organisations to Implement CSR Initiatives
From our interactions with managers, and especially entrepreneurs and leaders of smaller businesses in South East Europe, we sense a strong need for making CSR accessible to practitioners and understandable to all employees and organiational stakeholders. This is the first step, enabling then the development of simple and effective action plans for CSR. The Field Study Projects, contucted by teams of students in collaboration with companies, are an important lever for enhancing CSR related business practices both for our students and for the sponsoring organisations.
Examples of recent projects undertaken in the broader area of CSR are indicated below:
Investment Scenarios for the Creation of a Prototype Green Vacation Settlement, Sponsored by PROMITHEAS A.T.B.E.
The Employee Association of the Greek Social Insurance Institute (IKA), owns an area that spans 682,000 m2 located in the beautiful outskirts of Istiaia in Northern Evia. The Association holds all the necessary rights to construct vacation homes in this area and this project consists of a feasibility study for developing a Green Village, with all that this involves in terms of environmental-friendly infrastructure, architecture, building material, and water and garbage management systems.
Project Finance in Educational Buildings, Sponsored by ELLINIKI TECHNODOMIKI TEB
The social need for an increasing number and improved quality of student residencies is urgent in Greece. The scope of this project was to examine and evaluate the execution of projects with respect to educational buildings (mainly dormitories) under the project finance scheme. The main body of the FSP was a market research for the housing facilities of the Greek universities, which currently cover only 3% of the existing market. The outcome was a financial model for the evaluation of such projects.
Project Finance in the Renewable Energy Sector, Sponsored by: HELLENIC BALCANIC HOLDING S.A.
The mission of this project was to analyse environment, structure, and financing opportunities for Eunice Energy, one of the first and largest private energy producers focusing on exploiting renewable energy sources in Greece. A financial model was developed and various scenarios evaluated. Recommendations for the financial management of the venture were provided leaning on the methods of project financing.
Analysis of Gas Supply Scenarios that Affect the East Mediterranean, Sponsored by DEPA, the Greek Natural Gas Public Corporation
Natural gas will probably become, in the next decades, the most important energy fuel in the world. Greece is going to play a very important role as south-eastern gas gate and hub. Scenario planning methodologies were used in order to study access and security of supply creating a unique model for DEPA. The factors that affect security of supply in east Mediterranean have been identified and scenarios for the future evolution of supply and its wider societal effects were predicte.
Spreading the word about CSR
In terms of relations with the business community, the recently launched Global Compact Network Hellas is a promising initiative for enhancing CSR in companies and organisations. Furthermore, our Alumni Association actively pursues dissemination and support efforts in the companies and organisations where Alumni hold positions. These activities require continuous communication and follow up, and can be very rewarding for our students in the shape of Field Study Projects, company presentations, case studies and, at the end of the day, also job opportunities in the growing area of CSR. In addition, a number of events with prominent guest speakers presenting their actions and views of Corporate Social Responsibility have been organised.
Social Entrepreneurship: The Case of India. Open Lecture by Dr. Meena Galliara, Professor at the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bombay, India. Prof. Galliara presented a series of case studies of social entrepreneurship, with great social impact in India, and invited the participants to imagine what would be the most urgent acts of social entrepreneurship in Greece. Professor Galliara is Chairperson, Social Enterprise Cell, Narsee Monjee Institute in India.
The Market for Renewable Energy in India. Open Lecture by Mr. Rakesh Bakshi, Chairman and CEO, RRB Consultants & Engineers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India. Mr. Bakshi explained how India's economic growth is supported by sustainable development of the country's infrastructure, in particular the development of renewable energy. He presented case studies on the use of biogas, energy efficient burning techniques and hybrid energy systems. Widely known as the "Green Maharajah", Mr Bakshi is a global authority in the wind power industry and one the most prominent business figures in India.
Mr. Yiannis Mandalas, Founder and CEO of Mediterra S.A. (Mastiha Shops), shared his passion for the development of local knowledge and sustainable local development in combination with a viable distribution and market business model that enable growth and job creation leading to local development.
Mr. George Korres, Founder and Chairman of Korres Natural Products S.A., presented the key success factors of entrepreneurial activity and business growth, and emphasised the importance of responsible exploitation of local natural.